: After centuries of keeping water out, the Dutch now letting
The Netherlands (AFP) - For centuries the low-lying Netherlands
has fought to reclaim land from water by creating polders. Now,
with flood risk increasing thanks to climate change, it is giving
the land back.
and experts from around the world gather in Bali this week to
discuss climate change and the problems of projected rising sea
levels and extreme weather, the Dutch are already changing the
way they manage water.
Noordwaard polder in the south-western part of the Netherlands
looks like any polder: a wide, flat tract with grassland and barren
fields and a few farms behind a high dike that shields it from
the Merwede river.
In 2015, large
parts of this polder land will be left to flood. "When
we had flooding here in 1993 and 1995, it dawned on us that the
climate was changing and we needed measures to increase security,"
Ralph Gaastra, in charge of a project to de-polder the Noordwaard,
told AFP. "Then
we started seeing that you cannot continue indefinitely to level
up dikes, we needed to look at other solutions."
In the Noordwaard
polder the protective outer dike will be lowered by two meters
(6.5 feet) so that the area will flood when the water level in
the Merwede, a tributary of the Rhine river, is too high. In addition
four channels will be dug to allow water to flow over into the
this controlled flooding means most of the arable farms and some
families living in the Noordwaard will have to move, it will ease
the pressure on other more populated areas and lower the risk
of flooding elsewhere.
For the Netherlands,
the 2006 government plan called 'Room for the river' is a big
turnaround. Instead of fighting to keep the land painstakingly
away from water, the decision was made in 2005 to sacrifice certain
areas to keep the rest safer from floods.
1850 you see on maps that we have been taking more and more land
from the rivers, 'Room for the river' is the first step in reversing
that movement," Wino Aarnink, the project's manager at the
Dutch ministry of Transport and Water Managment, explained.
Netherlands has 26 percent of land below sea level but some two-thirds
of the country would flood regularly without the dikes and other
Netherlands is the best protected delta area in the world and
our ambition is to keep it that way, but also to minimize the
effects when something does go wrong because it's never 100 percent
safe," Aarnink said.
so-called "de-polderisation" of the Noordwaard is expected
to achieve a 30-centimeter (12-inch) drop in water levels at nearby
Noordwaard area there are currently 26 farms and 49 houses. Gaastra
said that roughly about a third of the houses will be demolished
and most of the farms will have to move elsewhere because the
land will no longer be suitable for arable farming, just for keeping
of the reasons the Noordwaard was chosen was that the people here
wanted to cooperate and it was sparsely populated. In a more built-up
area we couldn't afford buying everybody out," Gaastra said.
For the whole
of the 'Room for the river', the ministry calculates that some
150 people will have to be moved to protect four million inhabitants.
most people living close to a river agree that new protective
measures must be taken, it is a typical 'not-in-my-backyard' project,
people in the delta area are supportive, they remember the 1995
floods when 200,000 people had to be evacuated, but once we start
demolishing houses in their area it's different."
To get the
public behind the new approach, the Dutch ministry for transport
and water management works with inhabitants to encourage them
to come up with alternative solutions. It also launched a two
million-euro a year advertising campaign to promote the turnaround
in water management along the coast and in the rivers.
On a special
website called the "The Netherlands lives with water",
the ministry is emphatic: "We have to give water space now,
if we don't the water will claim the space later".
van den Berg
Source : SAHRA
Water News Watch / Yahoo News
: Next intermediary Big Jump
for livingRivers : July 6, 2008 at 3 pm GMT+2
Please find more informatio on the Big
: EU EU Water Policy and Dialogue with China launched
17th, during the 3rd IYRF, EU Water Policy and Dialogue with China
was launched. Related officials and experts from EU and China
exchanged the successful experience of water resources management
in Europe and status quo of that in China from decision-making
and technique aspects. Dr Stefan Agne, First Secretary, European
Union, EC Delegation in China, introduced the Framework Directive
of European laws related to water.
: France : une enquête parlementaire sur la pollution aux
PCB du Rhône?
France : a Parliament's enquiry about the Rhone's PCB pollution
Frankreich : Parlamentarische Untersuchung der Rhoneverschmutzung
durch PCB ?
La proposition de loi annoncée en septembre par Jean-Jack
Queyranne, président socialiste du conseil régional
de Rhône-Alpes, a été enregistrée à
la présidence de l'Assemblée nationale le 17 octobre.
Elle vise à créer une commission d'enquête
"sur les causes et les conséquences de la pollution
du fleuve Rhône et des autres fleuves et canaux du territoires
par les PCB". Cette proposition fait suite au scandale dénoncé
par les associations de protection de l'environnement, dont WWF
et France Nature environnement (FNE) concernant le très
mauvais état écologique du Rhône, contaminé
par des polychlorobiphényles (PCB), substances préoccupantes
pour la santé et l'environnement. La consommation de poissons
du fleuve est interdite depuis un an en Rhône-Alpes et en
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Paca).
Source : le Journal
de l'Environnement du 24.10.2007
: Ireland's Nitrates Directive gets the green light
Irlande : la Directive Nitrate reçoit le feu vert
Irland : Annahme der Nitrat-Richtlinie
ministers have welcomed the European Union's decision to close
infringement proceedings in relation to Ireland's implementation
of the Nitrates Directive.
for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley,
said that the move would allow Irish agricultural businesses and
Government bodies to concentrate on cutting down on pollution
to the country's waterways and groundwaters.
Nitrates Action Programme is intended to protect waters from pollution
from agricultural businesses and the regulations help establish
binding rules of good agricultural practice to avoid water pollution.
These put an emphasis on businesses to correctly manage livestock
manure and other fertilisers.
said: "Most water pollution is needless and avoidable. The
Nitrates Regulations can play a major part in reducing the extent
of water pollution from agricultural sources.
expect that there will be a high level of compliance by farmers
generally and that significant improvements in water quality can
in the interests of protecting water quality and in fairness to
the responsible farmers who comply with good practice, I am determined
that any rogue offenders have the full rigours of the law applied
minister added that he would like to see more inspections to make
sure agricultural businesses complied with the rules.
it was announced that that the Government would set up a new licensing
system to be operated in relation to discharges from local authority
waste water treatment plants.
Author : James
Source : edie newsroom
: China Diverts River Water to Olympics Rowing Site
Pour les Jeux Olympiques, la Chine détourne une rivière
China leitet Fluss um für Olympiade
BEIJING, China - Beijing has had to divert water from a willow-lined
river northeast of the city to replenish its Olympics rowing and
canoeing venue which has run dry, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.
The municipal government had spent about 430 million yuan (US$57
million) to divert water 13 km (eight miles) from the Wenyu river
to the Chaobei river which had run dry for nine consecutive years,
Xinhua cited deputy director of the Shunyi district reform and
development commission Qin Yongjun as saying.
The Olympic rowing and canoeing centre in Shunyi was built especially
for next August's Games and features a 3-km rowing lake which
holds 1.7 million cubic metres of water.
Beijing sits in the arid north China plain, where water tables
are falling fast due to climate change and rising consumption
by farmers and booming cities.
The country has embarked on massive engineering projects to divert
water from rivers feeding the south to the dry north.
It is also starting to address the serious problem of pollution
of water supplies from untreated city sewage, industrial waste
and farm run-off.
Xinhua said Shaanxi province, in the northwest, will build ten
sewage disposal plants to reduce pollution in the Weihe River,
the largest tributary of the Yellow River.
By 2010, it plans to build 40 sewage plants along the Weihe River,
which receives more than 800 million tonnes of sewage and wastewater
The Weihe accounts for about 18 percent of the discharges in the
Yellow River basin, the source of irrigation and drinking water
for millions of people in the north. (US$1=7.508 Yuan)
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: Floods Threaten Vietnam World Heritage Site
Au Vietnam, les crues menacent un site du Patrimoine Mondial
Vietnam : Hochwasser bedroht Weltkulturerbe
HUE CITY, Vietnam - Flood waters threatened the central Vietnam
World Heritage town of Hoi An on Thursday, drowning at least 10
people and forcing thousands from their homes.
There were also threats of flash floods and landslides in three
key coffee growing provinces in the Central Highlands, where rivers
were rising following heavy rains earlier this week, the government
said in a disaster report.
Heavy rain was falling in Hue, 660 km (410 miles) southeast of
Hanoi, swelling floods that have isolated many areas along the
north-south Highway One and forcing people to move around by boat,
a Reuters photographer said.
At least 30,000 people had been moved to higher ground in the
provinces of Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri, where two people drowned
as their boat capsized on Wednesday, the government said.
Five people drowned in Quang Nam province, many roads were eroded
by floods and inundation was threatening to collapse old houses
in Hoi An.
The ancient town of Hoi An was designated as a World Heritage
site in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which describes it as an exceptional
example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th
to the 19th centuries.
Three people, including a two-year-old, drowned in Quang Ngai
province to the south of Quang Nam, the government said.
The flood-stricken region is not a significant rice producer,
but floods have flushed away farmers' food reserves and the government
said it would send 500 tonnes of rice in emergency relief to flood
victims in Quang Nam.
The area affected by floods lies north of the Central Highlands
coffee belt, where state forecasters said showers were expected
on Thursday, two weeks before farmers are due to start their coffee
The government said flash floods could strike the Central Highland
provinces of Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Kontum, which together account
for 535,000 tonnes, or 8.92 million bags, of coffee, nearly half
of Vietnam's production.
The Daklak government has said a serious dry spell early this
year and floods in August could cut Daklak's harvest by up to
8 percent to 6.67 million bags.
Earlier this month, the worst floods in decades killed nearly
100 people after a storm lashed Vietnam's central coast. The three-month
flood and storm season is due to end this month.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: China, EU in Campaign to Clean Up China's Rivers
Chine : l'UE en campagne pour nettoyer les rivières chinoises
China : EU Kampagne um die chinesischen Flüsse zu reinigen
BEIJING, China - China and the European Union have launched
a 175 million euro (US$248 million) campaign to clean up the country's
two largest river basins as Beijing struggles to cope with the
environmental consequences of rapid growth.
The five-year programme to clean up the Yangtze and Yellow river
basins will work out policies on pollution control and promote
public awareness about reducing industrial pollution and waste
discharge, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
The project will also pay people living in China's southwestern
provinces to plant trees in an effort to improve the ecology along
The Yangtze basin is one of the most polluted rivers in the world,
due to decades of heavy industrialisation, damming and influxes
A stretch of the Yellow River became so polluted it turned red
from contamination last year and nearly a third of all fish species
in it have become extinct.
The problem of water shortages in China has also been compounded
by pollution, with billions of tonnes of untreated waste water
pumped directly into lakes and rivers.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: USA : Record September Temperatures Extend Southeast Drought
USA : Les températures record de septembre ont provoqué
l'extension de la sécheresse au Sud Est
USA : September Rekodtemperaturen sind schuld für Dürre
North Carolina, USA (ENS) - Temperatures in September 2007 were
the eighth warmest on record, hot enough to break 1,000 daily
high records across the United States, say scientists at NOAA's
National Climatic Data Center in Asheville.
The global surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record
for September, and the extent of Arctic Sea ice reached its lowest
amount in September since satellite measurements began in 1979,
shattering the previous record low set in 2005.
The heat extended the worsening drought to almost half of the
contiguous United States, with the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and
Tennessee Valley experiencing the driest conditions. Thirty-eight
of the 48 contiguous states were warmer than average, and no state
was cooler than average for the month.
Temperatures at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport reached
a high of 101 degrees F (38 degrees C) on September 10, the latest
date in any calendar year with a maximum daily temperature greater
than 100 degrees since recordkeeping began in 1944.
Drought affected 78 percent of the Southeast, with almost one-quarter
of the region affected by exceptional drought conditions, the
highest stage of drought, according to the federal U.S. Drought
North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten said the drought
is having a tremendous impact on the state's people and agricultural
industry. "This is especially true for the livestock industry,"
he said. "There is, and will be, huge shortages of forage
feeds to get cattle, horses, sheep and goats through the winter."
Reports from farmers indicate that the state's hay shortage could
be as high as 800,000 round bales, forcing farmers to seek other
options for feeding cattle through the winter. Farmers whose corn
and soybean crops were damaged by the drought have offered to
help livestock producers by baling and selling their crops for
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
has requested funds to aid in the transportation of hay, both
from within and outside the state, to producers in North Carolina.
In response, last week, the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance
donated $10,000 to help the drought-stricken farmers.
Duke Energy Corp. and West Brothers Transportation Services Inc.
are donating trucking services to help cattle farmers cope with
the hay shortage, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced
The companies volunteered to haul loads of baled cornstalks from
eastern North Carolina farms to western counties over the next
four to five weeks. The bales will be sold to farmers on a first-come,
"We are extremely happy that Duke Energy and West Brothers
Transportation have stepped up to help farmers cope with the drought,"
Troxler said. "One of the challenges we're facing is the
cost of transporting hay and alternative feeds to livestock producers
across the state. Fortunately, these companies care enough to
donate their resources and time to making a difference for our
Earlier this year, the state Environmental Management Commission
adopted the North Carolina Water Conservation Rule. Part of the
rule requires farmers who use more than one million gallons of
water per day for any one day during the year to prepare a water
conservation management plan and to implement the plan when a
drought is declared in their area.
Source : Environement
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.
: Etats-Unis: des normes de rejets pas assez respectées
USA : water discharge norms are not enough respected
USA : Abwässernormen ungenügend respektiert
A l'occasion du 35e anniversaire du Clean water act, l'organisation
à but non lucratif Public interest research group (PIRG)
(1) publie un bilan de son application durant l'année 2005.
Cette réglementation vise à assurer la qualité
chimique et biologique des eaux aux Etats-Unis, mais selon le
PIRG, le pays est loin d'avoir atteint les objectifs fixés
en 1972. Dans son rapport basé sur des données de
l'Agence de protection de l'environnement (EPA), il montre que
plus de 3.600 installations majeures du pays (57%) ont dépassé
au moins une fois en 2005 les limites qui leur étaient
imposées, de 263% en moyenne. Ces stations d'épuration
d'agglomérations ou d'industries sont soumises à
un programme de limitation de rejets polluants (2). Les Etats
qui ont enregistré le plus grand nombre de dépassements
des limites permises sont l'Ohio, la Pennsylvanie et l'Etat de
appelle les responsables fédéraux à travailler
avec les Etats pour lutter contre cette pollution illégale
et nettoyer tous les cours d'eau. Selon elle, l'administration
Bush a proposé et mis en uvre de nombreuses mesures
qui affectent le Clean water act et menacent les rivières,
lacs, zones humides, ruisseaux et eaux côtières (3).
un inventaire de l'EPA, les pollueurs ont rejeté plus de
240 millions de pounds (0,108 million de tonnes) de substances
chimiques toxiques dans les cours d'eau en 2005.
PIRG a pour mission de protéger l'environnement et la santé
des citoyens. Il travaille avec un réseau de chercheurs,
au niveau des Etats
(2) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit
(3) Voir l'article du JDLE "Etats-Unis: le périmètre
limité de la loi sur l'eau"
Source : Le
Journal de l'Environnement du 17.10.2007
: France : Prévention des risques d'inondations : les PAPI
à l'heure européenne
France and its Flood risks Manangement in the european context
Frankreich prüft seine Hochwasser Vorsorge im europäischen
de la secrétaire d'Etat chargée de l'Ecologie, Paris
Les risques d'inondations constituent un enjeu majeur. Ils concernent
5 millions de personnes et près d'une commune sur quatre.
Les dommages potentiels des grandes inondations s'élèvent
à plusieurs dizaines de milliards d'euros sur le territoire
français. Depuis 2002, une réforme de la politique
de prévention a donc été engagée.
Elle s'articule autour de la mise en place des Programmes d'Actions
de Prévention des Inondations (PAPI) qui regroupent les
propositions définies par les collectivités et les
services de l'Etat. Forts de leur réussite, quinze nouveaux
PAPI ont été lancés sur des bassins versants
particulièrement sensibles, début 2007, s'ajoutant
ainsi aux 42 PAPI retenus en 2003.
Afin d'échanger leurs savoir-faire et expériences
en la matière, les responsables en charge de ces programmes
se sont rassemblés mardi 16 octobre, au ministère
de l'Ecologie, du Développement et de l'Aménagement
durables, dans le cadre d'une réunion de coordination nationale.
A cette occasion, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Secrétaire
d'Etat chargée de l'écologie, a annoncé qu'une
évaluation des PAPI à mi-parcours, a été
confiée à l'Inspection Générale de
l'Environnement, dont les résultats seront présentés
au cours de l'année 2008.
Par ailleurs, l'adoption de la directive européenne relative
à l'évaluation et à la gestion des risques
d'inondations, adoptée le 18 septembre dernier, implique
l'ouverture de nouveaux chantiers : la transposition de la directive
en droit français, l'actualisation de la cartographie des
aléas et des enjeux et l'élaboration des plans de
gestion des risques d'inondations à l'échelle d'unité
hydrographique cohérente. " Les PAPI sont des instruments
d'avenir, d'autant plus qu'ils constituent le modèle qu'il
nous faudra mobiliser pour l'élaboration de ces plans d'actions
" a conclu la Secrétaire d'Etat.
Programme d'Actions de Prévention des Inondations
: Anne DORSEMAINE,
Tél. : 01 42 19 11 68
courriel : firstname.lastname@example.org
20 avenue de Ségur - 75007 PARIS
: Les biocarburants, un danger pour l'eau
Biofuels, a danger for water
Un rapport du Conseil national américain de la recherche
indique qu'aux Etats-Unis, le boom de l'éthanol, accentué
par l'objectif fédéral de production de 35 milliards
de gallons (132 milliards de litres) par an de carburants alternatifs
(dont l'éthanol) d'ici 2017 pourrait affecter les ressources
en eau potable dans certaines régions du pays. Dans les
Hautes plaines, "l'aquifère est déjà
exploité à tel point que sa recharge par les précipitations
est très, très inférieure aux utilisations
d'eau, phénomène qui sera accentué par toute
augmentation de la culture du maïs ou de l'agriculture irriguée
dans la région", a déclaré Jerald Schnoor,
professeur d'ingénierie environnementale à l'université
De la même façon, l'Institut international de gestion
de l'eau (IWMI), groupe de recherche scientifique basé
au Sri Lanka, vient de publier un rapport estimant que les biocarburants
vont accentuer la tension sur les ressources en eau déjà
soumises à pression, en particulier en Inde et en Chine.
"La production domestique de biocarburants dérivés
des récoltes ne fera que tendre l'approvisionnement en
eau de ces pays, et compromettra gravement leur capacité
à répondre aux besoins d'alimentation futurs",
précise-t-il. Un litre d'éthanol fabriqué
à partir de maïs en Chine nécessiterait 2.400
litres (l) d'eau d'irrigation, et un litre fabriqué à
partir de canne à sucre en Inde en demanderait 3.500. Au
Brésil, 90 l d'eau sont requis pour faire un litre d'éthanol
à partir de canne à sucre.
Source : Le
Journal de l'Environnement du 16.10.2007
: South Africa Govt Denies Sewage Spill Into Rivers
Le gouvernement d'Afrique du Sud dément les rejets d'eaux
usées dans les rivières
Südafrika dementiert Verschmutzung seiner Flüsse durch
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The South African government denied
on Friday that sewage had spilled into rivers in Gauteng province,
home to the country's business hub Johannesburg.
The department of water affairs said on state broadcaster SABC
untreated water rather than sewage had spilled into the rivers,
and drinking water in the province was still safe.
"Gauteng is very well serviced...communities have access
to water from taps and therefore the damage is very minimal, the
risk is very minimal to the community," said Hilgard Matthews
of the department of water affairs.
The department said its environmental studies had shown the water
was not harmful and people were not at risk.
Reports on Thursday had blamed the spillage on power outages,
raising fears drinking water could be contaminated.
South African cities have suffered a number of power outages as
demand outstrips supply and infrastructure is ageing.
State power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] has proposed raising electricity
prices by 18 percent to fund an upgrading programme.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: China to Move 4 Million from Three Gorges
La Chine s'apprête à déplacer 4 millions de
personnes de la vallée des Trois Gorges
China : 4 Milionen Personen mussen das Drei Schluchten Tal verlassen
BEIJING, China - China is to relocate at least 4 million more
people from the Three Gorges Dam reservoir area in the next 10
to 15 years to protect its "ecological safety", Xinhua
news agency said on Thursday.
The US$25 billion dam near Chongqing, in southwest China, is the
world's largest hydropower project, but even senior officials
who have defended the project as an engineering wonder now warn
that areas around the dam are paying a heavy environmental cost.
They cite erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam,
conflicts over land shortages and "ecological deterioration
caused by irrational development".
The dam, whose construction flooded 116 towns and hundreds of
cultural sites and displaced 1.4 million people, is a work in
progress, but state media have said it could be completed by the
end of 2008, just after the Beijing Olympic Games.
"More than 4 million people currently living in northeast
and southwest Chongqing, where the Three Gorges Reservoir extends
for 600 km (360 miles), would be encouraged to resettle on the
urban outskirts about an hour's bus ride from downtown Chongqing,"
Xinhua said, quoting a report on the on sina.com news site.
No details about the relocation were available, but Yu Yuanmu,
vice mayor of Chongqing, was quoted by Xinhua as saying the ecological
safety of the area was at risk from the growing population.
Environmentalists have long criticised the project, saying silt
trapped behind the dam is causing erosion and warning that the
dam's reservoir will turn into a cesspool of raw sewage and industrial
chemicals backing onto Chongqing.
The State Council had approved a plan which was of "great
importance to the environmental protection" of the area,
Jiang Yong, director of the Chongqing development plan bureau,
was quoted by the China Daily as saying.
"One of the key elements in Chongqing's new development plan
is to further our efforts to protect the environment of the reservoir
area since the environment here has changed greatly due to the
Three Gorges project and massive population relocation."
Relocation has also been a flashpoint for unrest over the dam.
Many object to being moved away from their communities and livelihoods,
and petitioners have accused local governments of pocketing much
of their compensation.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News service
: Water industry must adapt to inevitable climate damage
L'industrie de l'eau doit s'adapter aux inévitables dérèglements
Wasserindustrie muss sich Klimawandel anpassen
and water industry must start adapting now to the damage already
done by greenhouse gas emissions.
That was the stark warning delivered by the chairman of the environment
agency as the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental
Management (CIWEM) opened its annual conference on Tuesday.
Sir John Harman called for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill
to look at the need to adapt to inevitable temperature rises,
as well as measures to reduce future emissions.
He added that an independent board may need to be set up to examine
how the UK can meet the challenges of global warming, such as
water shortages in summer and more intense inland flooding.
Sir John said: "The Climate Change Bill is quite significant
because it tries to address the political logjam.
"We do need that bill to think about how adaptation response
is going to be brought into the framework."
Average global temperatures have already risen by 0.7 degrees
Celsius and are expected to rise by at least another degree even
if emissions can be tightly curbed.
Sir John added: "Whatever we manage to do on carbon emissions,
we already know about the adaptation challenge.
"Our response at the Environment Agency has been to go through
a process of climate proofing everything we do."
Sir John told delegates the water industry faces four major challenges
in tackling climate change - improving the quality of flood risk
management, tackling water scarcity, meeting the cost of adaptation
and protecting biodiversity.
He welcomed the increased investment pledged by the Government
for flood risk management, bringing the total to £800m,
but said that this needs to be raised to £1bn by 2015.
Sir John said: "The cost of doing nothing is worse than the
cost of doing something."
Author : Kate
Source : Edie
: UK : Insurers Threaten to Stop Flood Protection
Royaume Uni : les assureurs menacent de ne plus assurer contre
UK : Versicherungen drohen für Hochwasserschäden nicht
LONDON, United Kingdom - Insurers warned on Wednesday they
might not be able to provide cover in flood-prone areas unless
the government puts more money into defences. The Association
of British Insurers (ABI) said the government had let down millions
of homeowners and businesses after failing to commit sufficient
money to flood defences in its comprehensive spending review this
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said on Tuesday that spending
on flood management would increase to a minimum of 650 million
pounds in 2008/9 and a minimum of 700 million pounds a year later,
rising to 800 million pounds by 2010/11.
But Stephen Haddrill, the ABI's director general, told BBC radio:
"We really want to carry on being able to provide this service.
It's almost unique in the world and we think it is a very important
contribution to the protection of our customers.
"But obviously we can't keep providing it at significant
"So what we are going to be looking for from the government
is a recognition of what happened this summer and an increase
on the level they've announced today to reflect the lessons learnt
and to reflect the results of their own reviews which they are
He said the amount of government spending for the next three years
was less than the ABI had been asking for, even before the floods.
"It does not begin to address the major issues, including
drainage, which were highlighted this summer," he said in
He said that before the floods, the ABI had called for 2.25 billion
pounds to be spent over three years but that the government had
announced just 2.15 billion.
This summer saw parts of the country suffer their worst flooding
in 60 years, with more than 130,000 homes in Gloucestershire forced
to rely on bottled water and emergency water tanks after floods
forced the closure of treatment plants.
Insurers put the estimated damage at 3 billion pounds.
Head of the Environment Agency Baroness Young told BBC radio on
Wednesday that the government needed to take a long-term view
of the challenges of climate change and surface water drainage.
"We need to anticipate for 10 to 20 years," she said.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: Many French Rivers Polluted by Banned Chemical
De nombreuses rivières françaises sont polluées
par des produits chimiques pourtant interdits
Frankreich : zahlreich Flüsse sind mit verbotenen Substanzen
PARIS, France - Rivers in eastern and northern France are contaminated
with chemicals that have been outlawed since 1987 and are proving
very hard to eliminate, a government report said on Wednesday.
France earlier this year banned fishing from much of the River
Rhone which runs through the southeastern corner of the country,
because scientists said it contained dangerous levels of polychlorinated
But the latest report said other rivers were in an even worse
condition because of industrial dumping dating back decades, including
the Seine which runs through Paris.
PCB was used primarily as cooling and insulating fluid for electricity
transformers and capacitors, but has been banned in France since
1987 after research showed it could cause fertility, growth or
cancer problems in humans.
"PCB has been very heavily used in industry since the 1930s,
so we are suffering the consequences of long-standing pollution,"
said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the secretary of state of ecology.
She told Le Parisien daily she wanted to see the results of more
tests before deciding about stopping fishing in the Seine, but
held out little hope of a swift decontamination of any of the
"One cannot de-pollute all the Rhone. Technically and economically
it would be impossible," she said.
"If you dredge the rivers, you risk releasing PCBs held in
the silt. Other solutions, including biological ones, are being
studied, such as the use of bacterias which can digest the PCBs,"
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
: Uganda Flood Victims Risk Death by Hunger, Cholera
Ouganda : les victimes des crues risquent de mourir de faim ou
Uganda : Hunger und Cholera bedrohen Hochwasser-Opfer
KAMPALA, Uganda - Thousands of Ugandans face severe food shortages,
malnutrition and cholera due to flooding that has forced them
from their homes, aid agencies said on Tuesday.
In separate statements, the UN World Food Programme and British
charity Oxfam said 300,000 Ugandans had been affected by some
of the worst floods in living memory. A fifth of them were forced
to flee their homes.
Uganda has been one of the countries worst hit by torrential rains
and flash floods that have swept over east and west Africa washing
away villages, food crops and animals.
Conservative estimates put the total number of people killed --
from Ethiopia in the east to Senegal in the west -- at 200. Aid
agencies say 1 million people are affected.
In Uganda, 20 people have died and with more rain expected aid
workers fear the toll could climb.
"We are quickly running out of food ... before long, thousands
of flood-hit families will have nothing else to eat," WFP
Executive Director Josette Sheeran said.
"It can take just days for ... acute malnutrition to claim
the life of a child."
WFP said it needs about US$25 million for emergency food aid and
Oxfam said the risk of a cholera epidemic was also serious because
of reduced access to clean water".
Hundreds joined Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on a walk through
Kampala on Friday to raise money for flood victims.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News service